In the general case, the concept of a light tank included all tanks of lesser mass than medium tanks, but larger than tankettes. At the same time, at various periods of time, their mass varied in a fairly wide range from 4 to 15-18 tons for tanks of the Second World War and to 23 tons for post-war tanks M41. The very first light tank was the famous French Renault FT-17, which appeared at the final stage of the First World War. In the future, light tanks were fairly active development and reached its heyday in the 1930-s. These machines enjoyed deserved popularity in many countries around the world because of their low cost both in production and in operation. In the USSR, the quintessence of light tanks can be called a family of BT tanks, which possessed outstanding for their time speed, high mobility, good armament and weak armor.
Before the beginning of World War II, light tanks were the basis or the main part of the tank forces of many countries, but during the war and after it, for a number of objective reasons, light tanks squandered their former value, becoming a fairly specialized military equipment. By the end of the 20th century, these vehicles had almost completely disappeared from the armies of the developed states, being used mainly only by those countries that cannot afford the presence of more powerful combat vehicles.
But the military is not ready to completely say goodbye to light tanks, in the past few years, on the contrary, the popularity of such machines has increased. Light tanks are being developed in Poland, Sweden, and China. Such machines are indispensable in mountainous areas, in swamps, where heavy equipment cannot pass. These tanks are very mobile, they can easily be moved from place to place by air. Thus, the infantry appears combat vehicle with serious firepower.
Modern light tanks
"Sprut-SD" 2C25 (Russia)
Self-propelled artillery mount 2S25 "Octopus-SD" (SD stands for self-propelled landing) was created in the early 1990s. "Octopus-SD" is designed to combat the enemy’s equipment, including armored, as well as his manpower when operating as part of the Airborne Forces, Marines and Ground Forces. Externally, the car is very similar to an ordinary tank, combining the capabilities of a main battle tank and a landing amphibious BMD. Octopus can be transported by military transport aircraft aviationlanding ships. The machine can be dropped from an airplane with a crew inside by parachute method, and also without preparation to overcome any water obstacles with a wave of up to 3 points. "Octopus" is able to independently load into the landing ships from the water when solving various combat missions and fire afloat.
The Sprut-SD is a mobile armored tracked vehicle with a powerful artillery and missile weapon system. This light tank is able to overcome without refueling up to 500 km. The machine has a very high power density and is capable of successfully conducting military operations in hot tropical climates, high altitude conditions. In terms of its firepower, the machine is not inferior to MBT T-72 and T-80, and in terms of mobility and maneuverability it is on par with BMD-3. All these qualities, together with the circular rotation of the turret and the stabilization of the gun in the 2-x planes, allow the use of the Sprut-SD as a light amphibious tank that has no analogues in the world.
In front of the "Sprut" building there is a command and control unit, the combat compartment with the turret is located in the middle of the vehicle, and the engine compartment (MTO) is located in the stern. In the stowed position, the tank commander sits on the right side of the driver, and the gunner - on the left. Each of the crew members has observation devices built into the roof, which have day and night channels. At the same time, the commander's combined sight is stabilized in the 2-x planes. As an auxiliary weapon on a light tank, an 7,62-mm PKT machine gun is used. Since the Sprut-SD was created on the basis of the BMD-3, a significant number of units and components of the base machine were used in its design.
Currently, the issue of the modernization of the Sprut-SD anti-tank installation is being studied. The new version will be built on the basis of the BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle. The 125-2-46 X-gun (mounted on T-5) mounted on this tank can fire both with modern armor-piercing ammunition, including the Lead, and anti-tank missiles. The guidance system will include a target tracking machine and a thermal imager. The automatic tracking will be able to independently calculate the trajectory and determine the distance to the target. In addition, the new machine will receive a modern digital OMS, the latest electronics and software and hardware complex, allowing to integrate the combat vehicle into the tactical level control system.
The Volgograd Tractor Works was engaged in the development and production of this combat vehicle. Therefore, all the work on the modernization and unification of 2C25 "Sprut-SD" with BMD-4M will be held in Volgograd. It is assumed that the upgraded version of its firepower will be equal to the main battle tank of the Russian army T-90.
Performance characteristics "Sprut-SD":
Dimensions: length - 9,771 m (with a cannon forward), width - 3,152 m, height - 2,72 m;
Mass - 18 tons;
Engine power - HP 510 .;
Maximum speed on the highway - 70 km / h;
Maximum speed afloat - 10 km / h;
Cruising on the highway - 500 km;
The caliber of the main gun - 125 mm;
Ammunition - 40 shells in AZ - 22;
Crew - 3 people.
This light tank was developed on the basis of the modified tracked chassis of the CV90 infantry fighting vehicle, as a private initiative. For the first time, BAE Systems Hagglunds demonstrated its new light tank CV90120-T at the Eurosatory international exhibition in Paris in 1998. In the same year, tests of the first prototype tank were completed.
The lightweight tank CV90120-T has not the most common layout for modern tanks with front-mounted logistics. This decision is due to the fact that the tank was created on the basis of the chassis, which is a variant of the CV9040 BMP chassis. This chassis has undergone a number of changes in order to place the 3-local turret in the rear of the car, in addition to this, in front of it the booking was increased.
The armor of the light tank CV90120-T along the frontal arc of the turret and hull is able to cope with 30-mm armor-piercing shells, the tank's circular armor provides it with protection against modern 12,7-mm ammunition. In addition to the main armor, as well as the aerosol curtain system, an active protection system (AAC - active armor concept), which was created by the German company IBD Diesenroth Engineering in cooperation with the Swedish company Akers Krutbruk, can be installed on the tank.
The main armament of the tank is the 120 mm gun CTG120 / L50 (Compact Tank Gun - a compact tank gun), which has a long barrel 50 caliber. This tool was designed in Switzerland by RUAG. The gun was specially designed for installation on all sorts of light armored vehicles. To reduce recoil gun equipped with a muzzle brake, it also has an ejector. The 120-mm gun barrel has a special thermal insulation jacket to increase the accuracy of firing. The gun is stabilized in the 2-x planes. The main argument for installing a powerful 120-mm gun was the desire to combine the firepower of a modern tank with the mobility of lighter combat vehicles. The total weight of the CV90120-T can reach 28 tons, while modern MBTs in Western countries weigh almost 2 times more.
In the aft of the tank turret, a semi-automatic loader is installed on 12 shots; if it is used, the rate of fire can be 12-14 shots / min. The rest of the gun ammunition - another 33 projectile - is in the hull aft in the racks, it can quickly be loaded into the tower through the aft door. Possessing an 120-mm gun, the CV90120-T light tank is not inferior in its firepower to the Leopard 2 MBT, while having a substantially smaller mass, which has a positive effect on the tactical and strategic mobility of the tank.
The crew of the Swedish light tank CV90120-T includes 4-man - commander, infecting (backup commander), gunner and driver. The workplace of the driver is in front of the hull of the tank from the left side. Jobs of other tank crew members are in the fighting compartment. The loader is located to the left of the gun, and the commander and gunner to her right (the gunner sits in front, behind him and above - the commander).
The chassis of the Swedish tank consists of 7 dual track rollers on each side, a drive wheel (front) and a guide wheel (aft). Suspension of all rollers individual torsion. On the nodes of the 1 th, 2 th and 7 th suspension rollers are installed hydraulic double-acting shock absorbers. The MTO is located in the front of the hull from the starboard side, it houses the V-8 diesel engine of the Scania DI16 liquid-cooling HP 670, which is paired with an automatic transmission.
CV90120-T performance characteristics:
Dimensions: length - 8,9 m, width - 3,2 m, height - 2,8 m;
Mass - 28 tons;
Engine power - HP 615 .;
Maximum speed on the highway - 70 km / h;
Cruising on the highway - 600 km;
The caliber of the main gun - 120 mm;
Ammunition - 45 shells, in AZ - 12;
Crew - 4 people.
LC-08 Anders (Poland)
Another manufacturer of light tanks today is Poland, which began developing its own unified tracked platform. The first car of the new platform was the light tank LC-08 Anders, which should become the main link in the system of direct support for motorized infantry and tank units on the battlefield. In this case, the tank can be easily transferred to the category of medium, changing the composition and thickness of its armor.
The peculiarity of the Polish light tank is its “confinement” for use in peacekeeping operations, including in the urban environment. If necessary, the tank can be equipped with a complex of active protection. At the prototypes presented in 2010, the Ukrainian system Zaslon was used, but other systems, for example, the Israeli Trophy, could also be installed on serial light tanks. The area of use of the machine is determined by the urban areas, the area affected by the WMD, as well as all existing climatic zones (with a view to export). At the same time, a tank is distinguished by such characteristics as air mobility (the possibility of transportation by modern transport aviation), low weight and size, and high mobility.
The main armament of the tank can be a Swiss-made RUN CTG 120-mm gun, the same as on the Swedish light tank CV90120-T. This gun has 12 projectiles located in the AZ, and 20 projectiles are behind the automatic loader. The prototype tower of the LC-08 Anders tank was designed in Poland. All operations for loading the gun and extracting spent cartridges are performed automatically, without the participation of the crew. The crew of the tank includes 3-x people: driver, commander and weapon operator. The driver is located in front of the turret on the left side of the engine, like a Russian-made BMP, the rest in the inner part of the turret. In the stern of the light tank LC-08 Anders, as well as on the Israeli MBT "Merkava", there is a small compartment in which you can carry up to 4-x soldiers. However, during the transportation of the assault force, it will be necessary to abandon 20 projectiles that can be placed in this compartment.
The 33-ton light tank is driven by a German-made diesel engine 8V199 TE20 (MTU) with an HP 720 power. The use of such an engine allows the tank to accelerate on a highway to a speed of 72 km / h. The transmission and the engine are located in the front of the tank, which allowed the designers to free the stern of the vehicle to accommodate a landing area for the assault or ammunition.
In addition to the version with the 120-mm gun, Polish engineers presented a Belgian-made CT-CV turret with a CT-CV turret, which contains an 105-mm gun. Due to the different layout of the fighting compartment and the smaller caliber gun, the tank with the CT-CV turret has a large ammunition load than the version with the Polish turret. At the same time, the Belgian-made tower takes up less space in the tank itself, which makes it possible to increase the landing compartment with 1-2 seats, as well as to increase the transported ammunition.
Performance characteristics of LC-08 Anders:
Dimensions: length - 6,9 m, 8,8 m (with a gun forward);
Mass - 33 tons;
Engine power - up to 720 hp;
Maximum speed on the highway - 72 km / h;
The caliber of the main tool - mm 120 or mm 105;
Ammunition - 32 projectile for the version with 120-mm gun, in AZ - 12.
Crew - 3 people.